That’s racist.


“And I’m not prejudiced, but…”

After the jump, you’ll find the latest racism-related video to go viral. So far, two of you have sent it to me, even though it didn’t take place in D.C. I’ll warn you that it’s disturbing and filled with ugly language, including the “N-word”. Here’s what it’s about:

Things got ugly when a black mail carrier refused to take back a letter he’d delivered to a lady in Hingham, Mass. She went on a racist rant and slapped him. He secretly taped it all on his cell phone.

So many people assume that the South has a monopoly on racist behavior. I remember when I told my friends that I was starting this exciting new job at WAMU, and one of them, who was from Massachusetts, said, “It’s a shame that D.C. has so many racial issues.” Inwardly, I felt confused because I had heard the exact same thing about their home state. I didn’t say anything because I don’t know Massachusetts that well. I don’t know it any better after watching what’s below, but I do think it’s unhelpful to stereotype certain regions as “backwards” or prone to racism. The quote I excerpted above is from Gawker, where commenters are already chiming in about their lack of surprise that such a thing would happen in Hingham, MA.

I grew up in sunny Northern California, where I got called the N-word plenty of times. I have friends who grew up in Mississippi who never heard that word, once. Massachusetts doesn’t have a problem with racism; America does. Ignorance is everywhere– so is kindness and fairness. What’s interesting to me is how we live in a time when people can use the power of their mobile phones to record what they are seeing, upload it and allow it to go viral. Ten years ago, no one would’ve seen or heard what you are about to watch.
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“On the Internet, society’s most intractable issues with race and class are increasingly prominent.”


A still from Antoine Dodson's YouTube Q + A

I love what Cord Jefferson has written about Antoine Dodson and other viral videos starring people of color:

…15 million is how many times just one of the many YouTube videos of Dodson has been viewed. In other words, Internet users around the world have tuned in 15 million times to stare and laugh at a black man angry because his sister was nearly raped.

…What is interesting, however, is how common and accepted such biases have become on the Web. In the comfort and solitude of one’s bedroom, laughing at a troubled, poverty-stricken person of color is far more socially acceptable than doing the same on a busy street corner. What’s more, the disposable immediacy of the Internet means it isn’t always conducive to critical thought. Users take in hundreds of images and videos per day — and thousands of lines of text — and rarely pause to analyze what they’ve seen or why they click…

What we’re left with is an Internet community that feeds us, in the isolation of our homes or desks, distasteful videos by the truckload while rarely asking us to stop and absorb what we’re seeing. The Antoine Dodson video isn’t just insidious because we’re laughing at a low-income black man’s frustrations. It’s insidious because the Internet allows us to ignore why we’re laughing.

The people who voted for them are guilty, too.

A Canadian man in a confederate flag and Klan hood leads a former police officer in blackface with a noose around his neck. Their "costumes" took first place.

You know how people threaten to move to Canada if someone whom they dislike is elected, because America would then be intolerable and Canada is more civilized? Or how some of us assume that our neighbor to the North handles concepts like “diversity” and “tolerance” better than we do? Well, I was just sent a reminder that no nation is perfect:

A former police officer who donned blackface for Halloween as was led around on a rope by a friend dressed as a Klansman says it was a stupid mistake.

Terry Nunn says he is in “no way, shape or form” a racist and neither is his friend Blair Crowley.

The two won first prize at the Royal Canadian Legion Halloween party in Campbellford, Ont., Saturday night for their outfits.

Mr. Nunn tells Toronto radio station AM640 that he doesn’t believe in the Ku Klux Klan and he’s surprised someone complained to police.